Sunday 28 December 2014

The top 50 tweeters

Want to get the skinny on startups, the nature of dreams, egg recipes, rugby, Usain Bolt or God? Then here's our pick of the best business people in the Twittersphere

Roisin Burke

Published 09/02/2014 | 02:30

The spy agency cast the move as an effort to better get out its message and engage directly with the public
The spy agency cast the move as an effort to better get out its message and engage directly with the public
DANIELLE RYAN: The entrepreneur is a regular tweeter. Photo: Brian McEvoy

Let's be real here: most of us trawl Twitter to follow Kanye's craziness or feed on a match or to follow the House of Cards/Breaking Bad hashtag trail, or to mock the Late Late Show, for a deliciously trivial bit of displacement activity.

But there's also highly useful business Tweet feed out there to be mined.

In a year when Irish tweeting activity really exploded, there are many more new names to watch and follow, as well as some old favourites in our top 50. For instance ...

Headhunted from a tech firm in Paris to lead Twitter's development of its European business in Dublin as part of an apparent serious beefing up of its European team, Munster native Brenda O'Connell tweets from @BrendaOConnell about her CoderDojo mentoring, where to get the best Eggs Benedict in Paris, and rugby. Will there be more about happenings at the Irish HQ? Worth following to find out.

O'Connell's new boss, Stephen McIntyre, is the man tasked with building up Twitter in Dublin, tweeting on its active expansion at @stephenpmc.

Limerick startup superstars the Collison brothers, Patrick @patrickc and John @collision, are both great to follow. They've got a $1.75bn-valued company, Stripe, that's disrupting PayPal and make interesting observations on everything from self-driving cars to the nature of dreams to Ryanair's ticket prices, as well as fielding customers' queries directly themselves.

PayPal Ireland boss Louise Phelan is at @louise_phelan, where she even handles the odd job pitch and service query. She's American Chamber president and one of the most senior women in Irish business, keeping an eye on the foreign investment landscape as well as eBay and PayPal trends and US and Irish affairs, so it's well worth tracking her tweet thoughts.

Frontline Ventures, a VC backed by aviation scion Declan Ryan, makes savvy and interesting investments like one Forex gamechanger CurrencyFair and cloud innovator Logentries. It will be looking for opportunities for up to €30m of fresh investment and has solid lines into US money. Follow partner Will Prendergast at @wilp for insights on startups and venture funding aplenty.

The boss at CurrencyFair is Home and Away surfer lookalike Aussie Brett Meyers, tweeting at @brettlor. Fintech is a hot space right now and the Dublin-based firm is growing globally at speed.

Canny later stage tech investor Atlantic Bridge Ventures is bringing Chinese state millions to Ireland and helping introduce high-growth Irish companies to the vast Chinese market. Check out partner Elaine Coughlan's tweets at @coughlanelaine.

If Twitter co-founder Biz Stone backs your business, that's some endorsement. Intercom lately raised €22m in Silicon Valley. It will make 100 high-skill hires in Dublin in the next year or so. Follow founder Eoghan McCabe tweeting from the heart of the Valley for astute observations of all sorts @eoghanmccabe.

Mr China's Liam Casey can be found at @liamcasey. His PCH international makes stuff for Apple and rapper Dr Dre's Beats and is also incubating some of the most amazing hardware startups around.

The apple didn't fall far from the tree in the Ryan family with the aviation dynasty producing another up and coming entrepreneur, Danielle Ryan.

Roads Entertainment, a film and TV company and the latest part of her multi-faceted luxury lifestyle business, has lined up its first projects – a documentary about racing legend AP McCoy and a BBC-commissioned family history story. She tweets from @tearneck.

Tech entrepreneur John Dennehy's Make It In Ireland aims to be a go-to place for hi-tech jobs hiring. He tweets on the hiring landscape at @JohnDennehy.

Belfast man Paul McGowan's international retail turnaround force Hilco rescued HMV and Xtra-vision and has worked with Habitat and Woolworths. Hilco has put the famous Denby pottery business on the market. Worth a follow at @ppmcgowan.

He's not a prolific tweeter but he's still worth hitting the 'follow' button for. Donegal man Ricky Simms manages some stellar athletes including Usain Bolt and Mo Farah. Tweeting on sports, food and exchanging the odd tweet with Mr Bolt at @SimmsRicky.

DigitGames is Ireland's biggest games developer with a team that has worked on world-class hits like Tomb Raider. Richard Barnwell runs it, tweeting at @richardbarnwell.

Our big interview subject, Mark Little, to be found at @marklittlenews, made the transition from old-school broadcasting to innovative social media journalism, building Storyful and selling it to NewsCorp for $25m. Tweets on the future of journalism and insights on international news.

As head of emerging markets at the IDA, Ireland's highly successful overseas investment agency, Barry O'Dowd is at the cutting edge of the exciting startup happenings here. He tweets at @BarryODowd_IDA.

Similarly if it's multinational and it's setting up here, he knows about it – IDA comms guy and former journalist Emmet Oliver tweets at @emmetoliver.

Shy and retiring financier Kealan Lennon upped funding for his €1bn greeting card market disrupting company Cleverbug. More growth plans are to come. Follow him at @kealanlennon.

An Irishwoman living in Los Angeles and working for Disney, former Yahoo executive Una Fox tweets on tech in Ireland and the US and life in general at @unafox.

Angel investor Paddy Holohan founded then sold Newbay for €75m and now chairs Homestays.com, started by founder Hostelworld's Tom Kennedy. He's invested in scorching hot firms like Intercom and Soundwave. A sporadic but interesting tweeter.

Forbes 30 under 30 high flyer Jonathan Cloonan is a strategist for edgy media sensation Vice and works for the world's biggest advertising agency, WPP in New York. He's at @CloonanJ for interesting brand and advertising stats and acute observations on stuff both sides of the Atlantic.

Last year's web summit was one of the events of the year. He knows everyone who's anyone in the Silicon spheres of influence: follow founder Paddy Cosgrave to see how he builds on that in 2014, at @paddycosgrave.

Tweeting at @declankennedy, Betapond founder and chief executive Declan Kennedy's company makes marketing applications for Facebook as one of its privileged 'preferred developers'. Good on what's new with Facebook and what's happening with Irish startups.

Dubai resident and Galway native Paul Kenny founded and sold Cobone last year and has started up a Middle East-focused venture capital company that is considering Irish investments. There'll be more happenings soon we hear. Blue-button him at @Pauldkenny.

A canny early investor in Storyful, Ray Nolan's latest venture, an employment exchange called Intalex already has €21m-worth of business. He's @RayNolan.

Dragons' Den star and Cisco VP Barry O'Sullivan will launch an exciting new company of his own that might even rival Cisco in some ways later this year. It'll be worth following to see more on that and what he invests in on the Den, which is currently filming. Click on him at @siliconbarry.

Buzz around filmmaker Lenny Abrahamson's latest film, Frank, starring Michael Fassbender, is lively and it was a favourite at the influential Sundance Film Festival. Follow him at @lennyabrahamson.

A seasoned tech investor and influencer, Brian Caulfield of venture capital firm DFJ Esprit, is @BrianCVC.

Another one to watch in the Irish fintech space is the boss of thriving Trustev, Pat Phelan. Seldom shy of an opinion and well worth having in your feed as he dashes around the world, his handle is @patphelan.

Also worth a follow is $5.5m-backed Datahug founder and tech industry watcher Connor Murphy, who tweets at @ConnorPM.

Simply Zesty founder Niall Harbison has an interesting new business now, PRSlides. A former chef to some famous names, he tweets on food and more from @NiallHarbison.

Payments firm Realex ramped up its battle to steal a march on our beloved banks last year with a new product, easy transaction service Realex Fire. Founder Colm Lyon is at @colmlyon.

Former diplomat Brian O'Neill manages the corporate venture arm of Silicon Valley Bank, which has been building up a $100m lending presence in Ireland. From @BarryTOBrien he tweets on venture investment and other issues.

Super Awesome, Dylan Collins's children's marketing platform is growing fast. He's a director at Hoxton Ventures and at Brown Bag films. Check him out at @MrDylanCollins.

Viddyad's Grainne Barron tweets engagingly on what's going on with accelerator and startup events at @grabar.

New York-born tech investor and social entrepreneur, Sean O'Sullivan, tweets from @SOSVentures.

Once an adviser to Ted Kennedy, networking queen Trina Vargo heads up the US-Irish Alliance. Its upcoming annual pre-Oscar party is a who's who of the diaspora, Tweeting @trinavargo.

Insomnia coffee empire founder and broadcaster and investor Bobby Kerr is as congenial and witty on Twitter as in real life, at @bobbykerr.

One half of the spectacularly successful godbothering Malibu TV producing couple, Roma Downey tweets at @RealRomaDowney. About God. A lot. But also about the runaway success that is The Bible miniseries. Her other half is Mark Burnett, the man behind The Apprentice and Survivor shows.

For tweets on animation, TV and film, follow Academy Award-nominated Brown Bag Film's boss Cathal Gaffney at @cathal_gaffney.

Former Munster and Ireland rugby hooker and now sports management business owner and sports pundit Frankie Sheahan managed to bag astronaut Chris Hadfield for an event he hosted. Lively tweeting on sports and business from @FrankieSheahan.

Nick Leeson's GDP is working hard to help people and businesses deal with banks regarding their debt. @TheNickLeeson is the home of good insights from the Barings scandal banker on what the banks are up to. And he should know.

You'll find chairwoman at Ireland's largest publisher and radio and TV broadcaster Norah Casey's observations on entrepreneurship, food and life at @NorahCasey.

Aer Arann founder Padraig O Ceidigh tweets on small business and sport as gaeilge and bearla as @padraigoceidigh.

We've deliberately tried to keep things personality-focused but there are some corporations worth a namecheck. Hotly tipped for acquisition, the €10bn-valued Tullow Oil is tweeting at @TullowOilplc.

Once a go-to site for the skinny on Nama, Namawinelake is now a subscription publication but also tweets @namawinelake.

The Central Bank Twitter feed posts some interesting banking and money stats at @CentralBankOfIreland.

Ireland's food industry is booming, and its latest happenings are on @Bordbia.

Finally, we must mention a semi-state body that does what it's supposed to do effectively: get the latest on foreign investment in Ireland from the IDA @IDAIreland.

Irish Independent

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